Having not gotten a moose on our float trip, I carved out a couple of days to go out to Standard Creek, where I’d last gotten one several years ago. I hadn’t had any luck crossing paths with a bull during the season out there since, but the biggest part of moose hunting is just putting time in where they are likely to be. I hunted two evenings and mornings in my usual area, but judging by sign the densities were the lowest I’ve seen in many years of hunting there. The visit was great, especially because I’d avoided the weekend by working then and taking a couple days mid-week, which really reduces the hunter activity. Coyotes were howling at dawn on the second day, and the weather was excellent, but I left feeling strongly that it was not worth returning. Moose densities have been too high across this entire hunting zone, apparently, and they’ve been issuing a lot of cow tags to push those densities down. I guessed that a lot of those tags have probably been being filled out here.
After returning from a wonderful trip to Europe, life was back to its hectic norm for a couple of weeks, but Rose and I planned to take a float trip down the Chatanika River—just like the one Dad and I had gone on moose hunting back in September 2000. During that former trip, I remembered thinking how much Rose would enjoy such a float, and rumor had it that the 15-mile road off of Murphy Dome Road (which had been very bad before) had been improved for fire fighting earlier this year. So we planned to go. When Dad and I had gone, we’d taken a standard 18-foot aluminum canoe, but we’d worried about the extra load a moose would add and so had brought along an inflatable raft to tow if necessary. That scheme unfortunately was never put to the test, but in talking with some guys at work I heard a resounding recommendation for an inflatable Pro Pioneer made by Soar. I was able to rent one from the folks at Test the Waters, and we were set.